|Ian in the Atacama Desert, February 2013|
Since arriving back in Iquique, school preparations have consumed much of our thoughts and time. Thankfully, we were able to register Eva, Isabel and Owen at their former elementary school and Alec at the same jardin where Owen attended pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
Which left us with Ian. We had a plan for his schooling but it just seemed that we were being thwarted at every turn. Due to his challenges with receptive language, we were hoping to gain acceptance into one of a number of "language schools" in Iquique which are specifically geared toward children with language disorders. This meant separating Ian and Alec in school, but we felt it would actually be healthier for their relationship. However, after repeated calls and visits to a couple of the language schools it was my impression that Ian didn't fit the parameters they looked for in a student. Also, neither school I visited was willing to flex and allow him to do pre-kinder instead of kindergarten (citing that since he already turned five, he was "required" to do the latter.)
This morning I waited nearly an hour past my scheduled meeting with a speech and language pathologist to finally be seen, only to be told there was no availability for one more student in the school's AM session. Frustrated, I prepared to head home but remembered there was a traditional jardin just around the corner. (We had been there once for a Christmas party with Owen's first-grade class, since a classmate's mother was the director.)
To make a long story somewhat shorter, what I found there was a family-like atmosphere, very warm and welcoming. Unlike most jardines, this one does not advertise other than through word of mouth and keeps their attendance quite small. Pre-kinder and kindergarten combined will only be around ten students. Although not specifically a "language school" there is a daily time set aside to emphasize language learning. More importantly, the director said there was no problem with Ian entering pre-kinder and even offered us a significant discount on the registration fee and monthly tuition.
I was reminded how God opened the door for Owen to enter pre-kindergarten in 2009 through somewhat similar circumstances, and felt such a peace and relief that this was the right situation for Ian. He was excited to meet his teacher and proud to show off his new uniform to his siblings and Daddy! Officially, Ian will start school next Wednesday, March 6th (the day after Alec begins his school.) Once again I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father for knowing exactly what our family needs!